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Vaccine breakthroughs are unleashing a ‘value rally.’ Here’s what investors should know

November 17, 2020, 9:46 AM UTC

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Good morning, Bull Sheeters. It appears investors are doing a bit of profit-taking as global stocks and U.S. futures dip in early Tuesday trading.

That’s after Monday’s Moderna rally pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 into record territory with investors once again piling into value stocks (more on that below).

Let’s check in on the action.

Markets update


  • The major Asia indexes are mostly higher in afternoon trading with Japan’s Nikkei up 0.4%.
  • To shield its business from further U.S. sanctions, Huawei Technologies is selling its budget telecoms carrier Honor. There’s no price tag on the deal, but previous speculation was Honor would fetch about $15.2 billion in a sale.
  • Currencies for commodity-dependent economies—think the Aussie dollar and Norwegian kronerare pegged as the big currency winners for 2021. That’s because the dollar is predicted to plummet by as much as 20% in the year ahead, Citigroup says.


  • The European bourses were flat at the open with the Europe Stoxx 600 down 0.1% 30 minutes into the trading session.
  • The European Union’s €1.8 trillion COVID recovery plan is now under threat. Hungary and Poland are threatening to veto the aid package on grounds the proposal makes it easier for Brussels to slap sanctions on countries that flout the rule-of-law.
  • The collapse of Wirecard is now nearly complete after the scandal-rocked German fintech agreed to sell core technology to Spain’s Banco Santander. The financial terms were not disclosed.


  • The U.S. futures point to a weak open today. That’s after all three indexes rallied on the Moderna news, pushing the Dow and S&P 500 to new all-time highs.
  • Moderna closed up nearly 10% yesterday following its blockbuster vaccine trial news. It’s up more than 400% this year. It’s having a very good pandemic.
  • Shares in Tesla are up 13% in pre-market trading after gatekeepers at the S&P 500 admitted the high-flying EV maker onto the index, ending months of speculation. (I admit it, I didn’t think it would happen this quickly considering Tesla’s profits come from the rapidly disappearing business of selling carbon permits; it still loses money making cars.)
  • U.S. retail sales will be released before the bell.


  • Gold is flat, trading around $1,885/ounce.
  • The dollar is down.
  • Crude is up with Brent trading above $44/barrel.
  • Bitcoin is up 3% in the past 24 hours, trading above $16,750.


The value trade

Is the value rally for real?

Following yesterday’s Moderna vaccine news, the Dow and S&P rocketed to fresh all-time highs with the unloved misfits of the market—energy, financials and industrials—leading the way higher.

This has been the case for much of the past week, ever since the Pfizer, the first of the bunch, announced on Nov. 9 its promising COVID trial progress. The optimism of a vaccine is creating a big rotational shift out of growth stocks and into beaten-down value stocks. You can see this play out in the likes of energy and financials stocks, both ratcheting up impressive gains recently, as the chart shows.

Energy is now up 17% in the past month, outperforming the broader S&P 500 by a multiple of >4X. Financials are up about 3X on the S&P over the same period.

J.P. Morgan head of global and European equity strategy Mislav Matejka reckons the value trade has legs. “Our base case is that we could have 3-4 quarters worth of rotation, similar to the length of the ’16-’17 trade,” he wrote in an investor note.

Brian Price, head of investment management for Commonwealth Financial Network, concurs.

“It’s encouraging that we’re seeing a rotation from growth and momentum-oriented stocks to value and cyclical names,” he detailed yesterday as the markets were booming. “The more discussion about local economies reopening and a decreased risk of significant lockdowns should continue to support this trade for the time being.  We’ve seen similar value, cyclical rallies in the past but these periods have been short-lived as growth, momentum sectors eventually reasserted their leadership. Any sustained move towards fewer lockdowns should continue to support value-oriented sectors of the market for the foreseeable future.”

These developments bode well for those of you long core Dow stocks. The blue chip index is a whisker away from 30,000. The value stocks will likely push it above that milestone.     


Have a nice day, everyone. I’ll see you here tomorrow. 

Bernhard Warner

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